Boilermaker recipe: drop the shot glass in the beer?

Dear Cecil:

My hard-drinking friend from Purdue and I are in a state of disagreement. She insists the original (and hence "true") boilermaker drink consists of a shot of whiskey dropped, glass and all, into a mug of beer. Being from a more modest drinking background, I have only experienced these concoctions under the name "depth charges," and am familiar with the shot of whiskey with a beer chaser as a boilermaker. What's the straight dope on this, and should I stay away from women who can consume quantities of liquor in excess of their body weight?

Cecil replies:

To tell you the truth, I’d never heard of dropping a shot glass of whiskey into your beer, and at first I assumed it was just some moronic custom confined to brain-damaged Purdulians. However, an ex-bartender buddy of mine informs me that the practice is actually widespread, God help us. He (the ex-bartender) also backs up your friend’s contention that this is the original boilermaker.

On the other hand, a veteran liquor salesman I know says your friend could stand to go easy on that hard stuff–the true boilermaker is and always has been the good old shot-and-a-beer. To further confuse matters, most bar guides list a “depth charge” as a weird confabulation of brandy, applejack, and grenadine, or, alternatively, gin, Pernod, and something called Kina Lillet. In short, who knows?

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

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